The mum of murdered Lily Sullivan called her murderer “pure evil” and said what happened to her daughter will “haunt me” for the rest of her life.
The heartbroken mum said Lewis Haines had “robbed” her “beautiful and kind” only child Lily, 18, of her future as he was jailed for at least 23 years and four months.
Haines strangled the teenager and left her in a reservoir after she refused to have sex.
After murdering Miss Sullivan, Haines walked past his victim’s mother as she waited to pick her daughter up from a nearby garage.
The pair had kissed after meeting in the Out nightspot on 16 December and later went to a nearby alleyway together where they became more intimate.
What happened to Lily Sullivan?
Swansea Crown Court heard Miss Sullivan was later found face down and topless in Mill Pond, a two-mile-long freshwater reservoir near the town.
After murdering the teenager, Haines walked past his victim’s mother as she waited to pick her daughter up from a nearby garage.
Father-of-one Haines admitted murdering Miss Sullivan but denied sexual misconduct.
But after a trial of facts, Judge Paul Thomas QC concluded Haines had killed the teenager after she rebuffed his sexual advances.
Judge Thomas said it was clear that after spending around an hour in an alleyway together, Haines had become “frustrated” and attacked Miss Sullivan.
Her tobacco tin, mobile phone and leather jacket were later found strewn on the ground in the lane.
Haines made Miss Sullivan walk to the lake, a short distance away, and “forcibly” removed her cream lace top.
He later claimed Miss Sullivan had threatened to accuse him of rape.
What did the judge say?
Judge Thomas said part of the defendant’s story held an “element based in truth” and that he had a “great deal to lose”.
At the time, Haines, who had a girlfriend, was going through family court proceedings.
“He strangled Lily in order to prevent her telling people he had tried to get her to go further than she was willing,” Judge Thomas said. “His intention was to silence her. He didn’t want anyone to know what had happened in the lane.”
Miss Sullivan’s social media contained a number of poignant posts about misogyny, sexual violence and women being killed by men.
One of her Instagram stories contained a photograph taken of floral tributes left for Sarah Everard with a sign that read: “She was just walking home.”
Another post several weeks later listed 80 women who had been killed by men since Miss Everard was murdered by Met Police officer Wayne Couzens.
What has Lily Sullivan’s family said?
Lily’s devastated mother Anna branded Haines “pure evil” and said she will never forgive him.
In a victim impact statement read to the court by William Hughes QC, prosecuting, she said: “The events of the night Lily died go over in my mind constantly and I wake up in the night picturing Lily in the water wondering if she knew what was happening, if she was scared.
“I wish I had stopped Lily going out that night. I picture the man responsible for her death when I saw him at the garage, and I wish I had confronted him.
“Knowing I was that close to her, I wish I’d got out of my car and walked. I always wonder if I could have saved her.
“He looked me straight in the eyes knowing what he had done. I feel now that this was Lily trying to tell me something and reaching out to me, which is unbearable.
“I question what happened when her phone went dead when I was speaking to her, what I could have done differently so she’d still be alive.
“I play that whole night over and over in my head – it’s like being tortured thinking just one decision could have changed the whole night.
“These thoughts never leave me and I can’t stop thinking about it. I have to live with the fact that I now never know what really happened to Lily that night.
“I suspect the actual truth will haunt me for the rest of my life.”
“When I think of the person who took the life, I have mixed emotions daily,” Ms Sullivan continued.
“I can feel angry, confused, sad, overwhelmed because it’s all so senseless – it didn’t need to happen.
“I think the person responsible will have taken advantage of the fact Lily would have seen she was in danger – the danger she was in – and this was exploited by pure evil.
“I feel absolutely broken and I wish I could go back in time and stop Lily going out and I wish I could protect her from the evil she met that night.”
The court heard Miss Sullivan was an only child and she was born after her mother miscarried 14 times.
“I had almost resigned myself to the fact I wasn’t going to have any children so when Lily was born it felt amazing,” Ms Sullivan said.
“Lily gave me purpose to my life. She was my little bit of normal in difficult circumstances. Everything kind of made sense for me when she arrived.
“We were so close and I would describe our relationship as a more sisterly relationship and we had a very special bond.”
Ms Sullivan said she now suffers regular panic attacks and struggles to sleep as she thinks about her daughter’s final moments.
“I constantly feel numb and in a daze and some days I don’t feel anything at all,” she said.
“Lately I found things much harder as I acknowledge that I am not going to see Lily again.
“I dare not feel anything and I stop myself having any emotions or letting anyone close as this opens the floodgates and I cry hysterically, gasping to breathe.
“The feelings I have are difficult to describe – I’m broken inside.
“It’s almost like I don’t know why I was put on this Earth in the first place. I exist only to see her again. I’ve thought a lot about God and the afterlife recently.
“Every day is a day closer to being with Lily again. I’m struggling to find a reason to be here.”
Miss Sullivan’s family and friends shouted “rot in hell” and “monster” at Haines as he was taken down to the cells.
What have police said?
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Richard Yelland, of Dyfed-Powys Police, said:
“On the evening of the 16th of December 2021, eighteen-year-old Lily Sullivan enjoyed an evening out with friends and never returned home.
“In the early hours of the following morning the violent and predatory actions of Lewis Haines took the life of Lily. Haines passed numerous opportunities to seek help for Lily when fleeing the scene of his crime. His selfish and cruel actions have changed the lives of all those who knew and loved Lily and the close-knit community of Pembroke.
“The life sentence handed down to Lewis Haines today, ensures that he will not be able to harm others in the community. Dyfed-Powys Police and our partners will continue to work tirelessly to bring to justice those who perpetrate violence against women and girls in all its forms.
“This sentence is no consolation for Lily’s family and friends, but I hope this will be a step forward in the slow process of rebuilding their lives. Today, my thoughts are entirely with them.”